The Journey for My Life, Zanna Deen.

It was just an ordinary day. I woke up at 6 and got ready for the day. Washed my face, put on my green tunic and laced on my shoes. I grabbed my bow and arrows, by bag and basket. Quietly I had opened the wooden door, afraid to wake up my parents. They had been very busy last night, working till past midnight gathering fruits and cotton for our king. Not their usual time to stay out. I had left out some bread and nuts for them but they just ignored it, went straight to bed.
This worried me as I rushed through the woods, being quiet as possible. The sudden beet of a ravens wings surprised me, but not enough to make me scream or jump. I have grown out of that habit for my family and my own sake. You can't just go around the forest jumping and screaming at every little thing that you see or hear. Before I round the hill I hear the most distinct sound of a deer chewing grass. I sling my bow and slowly round the hill. I catch sight of the deer but it suddenly lifts up its' head and bolts. Silently I curse, chasing after it.
Then it hits me. A wave of smell that can only be wood. Burning. I turn around and look up into the sky. Above the trees is a pillar of smoke; thick with fire. I run towards it with a feeling of dread in my stomach. "But it couldn't be my house. It could be any ones," I have to keep telling my self. "We live so close together it's impossible to tell."
The dread is still tugging uncomfortably at my stomach as I race through the forest. Right before I get to the end of the line of trees, I see it. It's the most horrible thing ever. To call this thing a Creature of the Sky is an insult to them. It may have the wings, but it's shape, the body is wrong. The size of it's body is as large as a house, but that doesn't include it's tail. Its' fangs are gruesome, and its' claws...should they be that long? Then it's scales, they're a deep purple, almost a black except in the sun light.
I dash behind the nearest tree to peek through its branches. It takes all of my will just not to scream. I look closely at the ruined house; it is mine, or was. As I watch, a cloaked figure strolls out of the fire. I can't even tell who or what it is. It, too, is dressed in deep purple. It walks over to the head of the Dragon and lays a hand on it. Strangely the Dragon shivers, as if it strongly dislikes this creature touching him. The cloaked figure then walks to the Dragons side and mounts its' back. Now that I look closely, I can see that the beast is saddled and has reigns.
The thing takes up the reigns and commands him to do something in a language that only the greatest of the greatest scholars can, if not speak it, read it.
The Dragon spreads out its wings; they are twice the side of its body. He hurls them down with such force that the very ground shook with it. The air waves shook and the sound as if a mighty ox drum were being beat to it's limit. I had to cover my ears afraid that the vibrations would damage them.
I stood there for a moment, trying to get my bearings straight. Finally, I lunge myself off of the tree and stumble forward. I nearly fall but catch myself on the tree in front of me. Now I realize that there should have been someone here. Shouldn't someone else be here, to help try to smolder the flames? I cross the lawn to stand in front of the smoldering flames. I lift up my shaking hand as if I could move the ashes away. A hand touches my shoulder, I gasp and whirl only to find that it was just Eric. One of my best friends.
Convulsions started to shake me, and only then did I realize that I was sobbing. He pulled me against his chest and tried to sooth me. "Shh. Shh, Zanna. It's going to be okay. Shh."
I started to calm down just a little bit to realize that everyone was outside and I was being passed from person to person. Everyone kept on repeating the same thing over and over again. First it was Eric, then Heidi, Joe, then Victoria and all the other people who worked for the king. Heidi and Joe offered me a place to stay in their house and I graciously accepted. I was still shaking and sobbing when we reached their house. Heidi held my hand and offered me a shoulder to cry on. We slowly made it up the stairs to her guest room. I laid down my head on the pillow and curled up into a ball and Heidi laid the quilt that was on the bed over me. I turned my head just in time to see her leave, the thank you dieing on my lips.
Now I was just whispering sobs, tears still flowing. I heard voices floating down the hall, reaching my door.
"Do you think she'll be okay?" said a voice that could only belong to Joe.
"I don't know. She went through a lot today." said Heidi.
"I know she did, but think of how they treat her after today!"
"I know! They'll be talking rubbish about her for sure. 'Hey, did you hear about that one girl who looks like she's about 13, and she's got this wavy brown hair that surrounds her face. But don't let that angel face fool you, she studies black magic.'" she mocks. "Oh what nonsense! " exclaims Heidi.
"Right you are. All they talk about are rumors. All it is is mostly a bunch of lies!"
"Of course, aren't they always?"
"Yeah, I guess so, but lets get to sleep. We need our rest if we're going to make it up to the king tomorrow. If we want to please him for skipping a whole night. We'll need to work morning and night."
"But I'm glad I did it. Zanna really needed us tonight."
"Sure" mumbled Joe. Apparently he was already falling asleep.
I don't know how long I laid there, but it was enough for me to quiet the sobs to just tears. The sound of the Dragons wings beating against the air vibrated in my head. Oh great, I thought to myself, Nightmares. Just what I need.
When morning came, I was still disoriented. The tears on my cheeks were still moist from last night. Last night I had had a nightmare, more like images than real dream. I laid there trying to mentally get ready for the day. People would be more kind today, maybe a few too proud ones to give me some comfort at least. I rolled over to face the door and had to wait a few seconds for me to get up. I had to swung my legs off, then used the last bit of strength to pull myself up. I'd been in this house before, but never in the bed rooms. Now I could get a good look, the bed was conveniently located across the door in the right corner. It had a black, red and purple quilt on top of it. There was a table with a water basin on it; it was already filled with cool water. Above it was a little square mirror, blackened with age. Other than this the room was quite bare.
I slowly make my way over to the basin. The floor creaks, nice. I wash the tears from my face and take a look in the mirror. Ugh, I'm a mess. My hair is sticking in every which way, and tangled like a rat's nest. Bless Heidi's heart, though; she left a comb. I comb through my hair and make sure I look presentable.
The smell of eggs and bacon waft up through the house. Its' smell is too rich, it makes my head spin and makes my stomach hurt. I stumble down the stairs, apparently I'm not awake after all. I see Heidi standing in front of the gas stove cooking. She looks up and smiles at me as I stumble my way off the last step.
"Good morning, Zanna, how was your night?" She asks.
"Good morning, Heidi. My night was most pleasant, thank you." I replied.
I make my way to the table and sit next to Joe who is, to my surprise, talking to Eric. He looks just the same as any other day. Tallish with black shaggy hair, but not too long, with regular brown eyes, too. Dressed in the same style of clothes, a brown tunic with brown leggings.
"Good morning, Zanna," Eric greets.
"Hello, Eric." is all I can manage.
I lay my head down on my arms wanting to go back to sleep, but knowing I shouldn't.
"Long night?" Eric asks.
"Sure. Nightmares galore." I say sarcastically.
"Oh...are you okay?" His voice suddenly takes on that compassionate tone.
I turn my head and glare at him, "And why would I be okay? My parents just died!" I tell him.
"Sorry!" He holds up his hands like in surrender. "I'm just really worried, that's all. I didn't mean anything from that question."
"It's okay. I just don't feel so well right now."
"Um...." He shares an uneasy glance with Joe.
"What? What is it?" I ask.
"It's nothing." He answers a little too quickly.
"Sure." I say. "Everything is just fine and dandy."
He just nods his head as if it were true.
Exasperated, I shove my head away from the table and jump off my stool. "I'll be in the woods going for a walk if you need me," I call over my shoulder.
I swing open the front door and slam it behind me. The thing about this house is that it's right next to the woods, so I didn't have to go far before I was deep in. I found the familiar path that led to my favorite place. There was a snap of a branch somewhere close behind me. I didn't actual want anyone to follow me but I knew this place fairly well. If there was the chance that someone was following me I didn't want them here, so I picked up my pace a little. Another snap. Now I know someone is trying to stay close, though trying to stay hidden but an eye on me.
I see the familiar pile of boulders as I duck behind another tree. All I need to do is get there without being seen and I've got dozens of places to hide. I shoot a glance over my shoulder. No one is there, though that means little. I dash from tree to tree until I'm at the base of the pile. I know where and how to climb up the fastest, that's how familiar I am with this place.
I reach for the first ledge, pull myself up. Reach for the next ledge, replace my hand with foot. Repeat. The replace and place is an easy and comforting style for me. To my left and up is a small cave. I could have hidden in it when I was younger, but I'm not so young right now. Then there is another cave far to my right. More likely chance of being caught in there since it's so close to the ground. But my favorite one is at the extreme top, it's a cave that you have to go feet first into. When you want to get out, you have to pull yourself out.
I reached the top and throw a hurried glance over my shoulder. Near the bottom was a man. He had dark shaggy hair with a brown tunic and leggings....
"Ugh!" I complain and jump to the ground, breaking it with a roll. "What do you think you are doing here, mister?" I yell up at him.
"Um...sorry but Joe told me to follow you" He huffed as he landed.
"Right", I mutter. "No. Really, why are you here?"
"I thought that you could use a shoulder to cry on." He ducked his head as he admitted this.
"Oh." I said, being caught off guard. "That's nice of you, I guess. Thanks."
"Sure," He replies. He grabs me and gives me a hug, catching me off guard, again.
I hug him back, appreciating his comfort, "Thanks. Really."
"Then your welcome," He says. He pulls away to look me in my eyes and I see that look in his eyes again. I ducked my head turning away. I hated it when things got like this between us. Yes, he was 14, but that's common. At least he's in the same grade as me and he wasn't 2 or 3 years older.
But still, "Eric, please," I say going off to stare up at the boulders.
"Sorry, Zanna. I'll try to control my self."
"It's okay. It's just that...." I trail off. We have been friends since as long as I can remember. We've grown up together, like most kids, but not with a bond as strong as ours. "I see us as something other than you see. I'm sorry, but if your going to act like this, I don't know how long I can stand this."
"I promise, no more of that...stuff." He smiles. Just as he wants it to do, I blush. "C'mon. I don't like these woods. They've always freaked me out." He starts off in a random direction which I suspect that he thinks is the right way.
"Eric! Wrong way, it's this way." I go over and grab his wrist, purposefully missing his hand. Him and all the love stuff. Eww. He just chuckles.





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